Concert Review: Cyndi Lauper at Mizner Amphitheater

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Eddy Arnold, Patsy Cline, Skeeter Davis, Cyndi Lauper. One of these names is not like the others, but Lauper assures the audience early on that she is aware. Though, somehow, the pop superstar sounds just as powerful as ever with her detour to country music.

After a rainy Saturday, the sky cleared up at the Count de Hoernle Amphitheater in Mizner Park for the second-to-last stop of the first leg of Lauper’s “Detour Tour.” And as the clouds retreated, the fans arrived.

Rock duo The Peach Kings kicked off the show with an edgy opening set. With just Paige Wood and Steven Dies onstage playing guitar and providing vocals, this was not quite the thrilling opening act that normally gets the crowd pumped for the headliner. While Wood had a beautiful voice, she dipped into the emo-rock genre with a bit of screaming. Though the duo sounded excellent together, the songs were slow and the crowd seemed disinterested.

However, The Peach Kings were grateful to be touring with Lauper. Dies could not put into words how incredible it was to perform alongside her, so he read the audience a poem he wrote about her instead.

“She don’t take shit from anyone and gives it straight the way we want,” he concluded, as the crowd roared in agreement.

Soon after, Lauper took the stage with a suitcase in hand, clearly showing that she was taking a detour from what we knew. She started her set a cover of Wanda Jackson’s 1961 hit single “Funnel of Love,” which set the western tone for the majority of her show.

While many people might see aging celebrities like Kiefer Sutherland and Rita Wilson tackling the country music genre and wondering why they are doing it, Lauper clearly displays her talent and range from the start.

Answering the question of why she would record a country album (this year’s retro celebration “Detour”), Lauper explained that she always wanted to work with Sire Records and Seymour Stein. When she first began talking to Stein, he explained that there was a time that country music and rhythm and blues were closely intertwined. Once he started playing some of these songs for her, she knew she had to record them.

Lauper intertwined her new country tunes with a smattering of her older songs. When the first chords of “She Bop” resounded, the crowd went wild. Audience members pogoed like they were back in the ‘80s but also sang along to the older music, like Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

Cline appeared on “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” in 1957, which is where Lauper discovered her. When she was just a little girl, Lauper would watch the show with her grandma along with “Queen for a Day,” where hardworking women would be treated like royalty for a day and then given a new home appliance to help them in the house. Lauper didn’t like the idea of being treated well and then put back to work, so she decided that she would rather appear on Godfrey’s show, and dedicated herself to singing.

Throughout her set, it was clear that Lauper was having some vocal issues. She would grab a spray bottle and spray her throat in between verses while she was singing. At times, she was difficult to hear due to these personal complications.

But when her voice was full, Lauper sounded incredible. Early in the show, she lay on top of a travel trunk and sang upside down. High notes were a specialty of hers, and there was no holding her back when she felt the passion. It was also interesting to watch Lauper conduct her band. Toward the end of each number, she would turn her back to the audience and instruct the band to keep playing until she had her fill.

Before covering Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” Lauper commented on how much talent we already have lost this year. She touched on the shocking death of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed outside of an Orlando concert on June 11, and said that Prince’s death freaked her out. She urged the audience to keep the ones they love close, because no one will be around forever.

Lauper saved her most famous trio of songs until the very end. As an encore, Lauper performed “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “True Colors.” The Peach Kings joined Lauper onstage for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” with Wood singing the first verse. The audience sang along with passion to all three songs, and you could tell that all the girls—as well as the guys—were having fun. Before starting “True Colors,” Lauper sang a portion of “A Part Hate” a capella and sounded better than she did with all the instruments backing her up.

During her encore, Lauper explained that she feels so inspired being a woman right now with Hillary Clinton clinching the Democratic nomination for president. She has always felt like a woman could handle things better. But, whatever side of the political race you are on, Lauper left the audience with a few wise words.

“Always remember that people have the power in this country,” Lauper said. “You can’t be included if you don’t include yourself.”

At 62 years old, Lauper is still having the time of her life onstage. Between interacting with the audience, telling personal stories and belting out her hit songs, her true colors shine through. And, while I do hope that we get to hear some new pop songs from her in the future, it is exciting to watch her travel down the western road for now.

Set list:

Funnel of Love (Wanda Jackson Cover)

She Bop

Heartaches by the Number (Ray Price Cover)

I Drove All Night

The End of the World (Skeeter Davis Cover)

Walkin’ After Midnight (Patsy Cline Cover)

I Want to Be A Cowboys Sweetheart (Patsy Montana Cover)

You Don’t Know

When You Were Mine (Prince Cover)

Money Changes Everything (The Brains Cover)

Misty Blue (Eddy Arnold Cover)

ENCORE

Time After Time

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

A Part Hate/True Colors